Research on vaccine certificates finds positive outcomes

It’s Wednesday and so some short discussion and news then some jazz, the latter being the highlight. I read an interesting research paper yesterday from the – Conseil d’Analyse Économique (CAE) – which is an French-based organisation that brings together professional researchers “to enlighten the government’s choices in economic matters by comparing points of view and analyses”. It operates under the authority of the French Prime Minister. Its latest public report under its – Focus – series – The effect of COVID certificates on vaccine uptake, health outcomes, and the economy (published January 18, 2022) – presents some very interesting empirical results pertaining to the impact that the enforcement of Covid vaccination certificates has had on the rate of vaccination uptake, on health outcomes (short-term) and on GDP growth rates. I consider the research (methods etc) to be credible and the results are in accord with an array of evidence that other researchers are coming up with.

The effect of COVID certificates on vaccine uptake, health outcomes, and the economy

I know that many people think that research results are manipulated as part of a conspiracy (by whom?) and that we cannot believe the data, and all the rest of that.

The point I make is that when one person comes up with results that are disagreeable to a particular viewpoint you need to be careful with them.

But it is hard to maintain a conspiracy when many diverse researchers come up with results that point in the same direction.

While there are some researchers who are crooks, my experience is that most professional researchers are serious-minded in their work and so constant reinforcement of results gives one confidence.

The study I cited in the Introduction is sound in my judgement – given I understand the advanced statistical techniques being used and the datasets are verifiable.

They realise that the topic is controversial and the use of vaccine certificates has been opposed by some on “ethical and political” grounds.

There is room to debate the practice on those grounds.

But they seek to enlighten us on several research questions relating to the practice of vaccine certificates:

1. Have vaccine certificates increases the rate of vaccination and reduced the rate of hesitancy?

2. Have the certificates impacted on health outcomes – number of hospital admissions and deaths?

3. Have the certificates reduced the loss of GDP as a result of the pandemic?

Using counterfactual and synthetic control techniques, they find:

1. “The effects of COVID certificates on vaccine uptake turned out to be sizeable.”

2. “More precisely, we attribute 13.0 (95% CI 9.7‐14.9) percentage points (p.p.) for France, 6.2 (2.6‐6.9) p.p. for Germany, and 9.7 (5.4‐12.3) p.p. for Italy uptake to the incentives created by COVID certificates.”

3. “The overall effect is significant in France and Italy, but only from end of November 2021 onwards in Germany, when the use of COVID certificates was extended to workplaces.”

4. “The results are in line with studies analysing the immediate period after the intervention in various countries using cross‐country or state comparisons.”

5. “Importantly, the effect of COVID certificates on vaccine uptake was also sizeable among the older population.”

6. In terms of the “the number of hospital admissions and deaths that would have occurred from the announcement of COVID certificates until the end of 2021”, they found that “In France, an additional 32,065 (26,566‐35,306) hospital admissions would have occurred, in Germany 5,229 (‐1,774‐6,822), and in Italy 8,735 (2,999‐12,261). Additional deaths in France would have been 3,979 (3,453-4,298), in Germany 1,133 (‐312‐1358), and in Italy 1,331 (502‐1,794). Thus, from the introduction until the end of 2021, the expected number of hospital admissions (and deaths) would have been 31.3% (31.7%) higher in France, 5.0% (5.6%) higher in Germany, and 15.5% (14.0%) higher in Italy.”

7. “By the end of 2021, without the policy intervention, weekly GDP would have been 0.6 (0.5‐0.8) % lower in France, 0.3 (0.1‐0.4) % lower in Germany, and 0.5 (0.3‐0.6) % lower in Italy, amounting to GDP losses across the second half of 2021 of €6.0 (5.9‐6.1) billion in France, €1.4 (1.3‐1.5) billion in Germany, and €2.1 (2.0‐2.2) billion in Italy.”

In summary, for France, the Covid certificates have saved 3,939 lives, increased vaccine uptake by 13 per cent, and reduced GDP losses of €6 billion.

For Italy, the Covid certificates have saved 1,331 lives, increased vaccine uptake by 9.7 per cent, and reduced GDP losses of €2.1 billion.

for Germany, the Covid certificates have saved 1,133 lives, increased vaccine uptake by 6.2 per cent, and reduced GDP losses of €1.4 billion.

They conclude that the certificates have had:

… a visible, robust positive effect on vaccination rates, health outcomes, and the economy in France, Germany, and Italy.

Further questions remain (such as what about Omicron) and why people are distrustful of the science.

But as it stands, these results are very interesting.

Recent podcast with Real Progressives

A few weeks ago I recorded a new podcast – Duality with Bill Mitchell – with the team at Real Progressives (the title was their choice).

It was quite a long session but I think the discussion was interesting.

You can download the audio – HERE.

If you read faster than you listen and can do without the mellifluous voice tones (-: then there is a full transcript of the discussion available too at the link above.

My thanks to Steve and gang for making it all possible. They deserve our support.

MMTed update

Several things are coming up which may be of interest.

MMTed MOOC – Modern Monetary Theory: Economics for the 21st Century

We are now in a position to offer the course again in early 2022 for all those who have been asking me for a chance to complete the program.

Please note that this is a repeat of the previous course, which we offered in March 2020.

You are invited to enrol for the edX MOOC – Modern Monetary Theory: Economics for the 21st Century – it is free and the 4-week course starts on February 9, 2022.

The course is offered through the University of Newcastle edX program.

Learn about MMT properly with lots of videos, discussion, and more.

For – Further Details.

The Helsinki Lectures 2022

As part of my professorial position at the University of Helsinki, I will be offering my annual lectures on MMT starting next week. This is a partnership between the university and MMTed.

While these lectures form part of a formal postgraduate coursework program at the university, I am permitted to make them publicly available as part of the outreach program.

The teaching program will be:

  • Tuesday January 25, 2022 – Streamed public lecture (YouTube) starting 10:15 Helsinki time.
  • Wednesday, January 26 – first Zoom lecture with class – 08:15-09:45 Helsinki time.
  • Thursday, January 27 – second Zoom lecture – 10:15-11:45 Helsinki time.
  • Tuesday, February 1 – third Zoom lecture – 10:15-11:45 Helsinki time.
  • Wednesday, February 2 – fourth Zoom lecture – 08:15-09:45 Helsinki time.
  • Thursday, February 3 – final Zoom lecture – 10:15-11:45 Helsinki time.

I will publish the access details early next week for the YouTube stream and the Zoom links.

I hope to see some of you in the ‘class’.

Please help if you can

We still need significant sponsors for this venture to ensure that we can run the educational program with negligible fees and to ensure it is sustainable over time.

If you are able to help on an ongoing basis that would be great. But we will also appreciate of once-off and small donations as your circumstances permit.

Please write to me to request account details.

Please help if you can.

Music – Khan Jamal RIP

This is what I have been listening to while working this morning.

Musicians that I came to like when I was young are starting to die off with increasing frequency these days, which probably says something about my age as well.

On January 10, 2022, the great vibe player who also was an excellent percussion player – Khan Jamal – died in Philadelphia at the age of 75.

He was an important part of the free jazz movement in the 1970s, when I first started to collect his records (which were few and far between) along with his band – Sounds of Liberation and the – Sun Ra Arkestra.

The difference between Khan Jamal’s approach and the standard free jazz style was that he was very melodic – so a tonal solo player in a band full of the opposite.

As I learned more about him, I discovered that he had a close association with the Black Arts and Black Consciousness movements and that led him to broaden his instrument range to encompass West African sounds and patterns.

This track – The Known Unknown – is from an 1984 album (recorded in 1982) – Infinity (recorded in 1982).

Playing on this track are Dwight James (drums), Reggie Curry (Bass), Bernard Sammul (Piano) and – Byard Lancaster (Sax).

That is enough for today!

(c) Copyright 2022 William Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Covid crises : Is neoliberalism over ?

    It depends what you think neoliberalism is as discussed by David Harvey and Costas Lapavistas.

    If you think neoliberalism was designed to move all the profits up the way. Then it has never been more powerful and successful as it was during the pandemic. Why would the leisure class and capital ever think about changing it. It is the Olympic gold medal winner at moving profits upwards.

    What I never realised after listening to the link above was the role China played at getting the World out of recession after the financial crises. They lost 30 million jobs in exports and flipped a switch and created 27 million jobs building infrastructure. They didn’t even mind that they had to blow up some of the housing they created afterwards as it served its purpose during the crises.

    Chile, Australia and Brazil etc sent them the raw materials they needed and they ended up blowing up some of the infrastructure they created and just got on with it. You have to stand back in awe at the simplicity in their thinking. The amount of high speed rail they have built in such a short space of time is extraordinary.

    It was similar to a job guarentee program. They get their public sector to work counter cyclical to their private sector. The scale and speed at which they achieve things is simply staggering and difficult to comprehend.

    They are now trying to move away from exports and cheap labour so that they don’t lose another 30 million jobs in the next downturn. Create more value added products with better skills and higher wages.

    It seems the world economy is dependent on China by selling them what they need as they go through these vast and very quick changes. Because our government’s see government spending as the devil ( walk this way into my office while I provide you with a loan instead) it looks like over time China is going to pull everyone out of the pandemic slump also.

    The Marxists keep on saying in the video they need to look at what China is doing. Finally and hopefully the Marxists will join the dots and understand what the job guarentee is all about. Why MMT economists have been promoting it all these years. Surely this time if they study China they can’t miss it.

  2. The Effect of COVID Certificates on Vaccine Uptake,
    Health Outcomes, and the Economy

    Innovation diffusion theory

    “In our context, vaccines are the innovation that every (eligible) person may choose to
    adopt” ???

    I cannot check on the math behind those models but…
    can the “adoption” of a vaccine be put in parallel with the one a smart phone, a flat panel TV or an electric car??
    Sorry but i really doubt it!

  3. What is also fascinating is how both the pandemic and neoliberalism started off via consent as both were a totally new experience and then both turned more authoritarian.

    As both never delivered as advertised. The consent of the people wore off and you can see it happening with both left and right wing voters. With neoliberalism you see at after the financial crash.

    Without the consent from the voters the ” one ” party nation states started to double down and drive both the solutions to the pandemic and neoliberalism by ever increasing authoritarian means. Using all the power of the state and media to ” nudge” voters like a dictator. Using technocrats in treasuries and the central banks who came from the big wall street banks.

    Which is beautifully explained in a 2 part series by Chris Hedges on RT.

    It is also fascinating that who used to be mainstream in the western media in both the US and UK in the 80’s and 90’s now only seem to be able to get their voices heard on RT. Peter Osborne who left the Telegraph now appears regularly on RT. So it has happened with voices from both the left and the right who were marginalised by the neoliberal project.

    Both the consent for neoliberalism and the pandemic are at all time lows. It will be very interesting to watch the years ahead how the ” one” party nation states continue to implement neoliberalism without the consent from the public. Some say that’s what COP 26 was all about and green washing will be used to keep doubling down and using the fear of climate change to keep the leisure class and capital in the wealth they have become accustomed to. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.

    {Bill notes: linked edited out}

  4. Isn’t the problem with vaccine mandates and certificates simply this: that, so far, Covid-19 has not been sufficiently lethal, on a case-by-case basis, to instill sufficient fear in a sizeable portion of the population? By now, we’ve all had family members or friends who caught the virus and made swift recoveries. While the disease can take a sudden, disastrous turn in a small minority of cases (so yes, some of us have also seen family members or friends disabled by or lost to Covid), that’s still not enough of an overall threat, in the eyes of many people, to justify the socially and economically disruptive measures taken to date, much less to require even stronger ones. Do these people have a point?

  5. Well….

    I am a surgeon living in Italy, Lombardy, provincia di Bergamo.
    My partner, anesthesiologist, work in an ICU…

    Please!… just take Covid-19 very seriously.

  6. # Newton E. Finn
    I don’t know anyone who has had Covid.
    But then, I live in a socially responsible country (NZ).

  7. Bill asks “why people are distrustful of the science”

    There have been quite a few studies into this. And it’s not that they are specifically distrustful of the science, one of the largest correlations in vaccine hesitancy and people on the household longitudinal survey who agree with the statements that “public officials don’t care”, and “don’t have a say in what government does”. People who say this are also predominantly are Black and Ethnic minority, and lack of trust explains a significant amount of the vaccine hesitancy displayed by this group. Not a lack of trust in science more a lack of trust in the UK’s public institutions.

    Other factors involved in vaccine hesitancy, are lower levels of education, as well as more precarious employment. A further factor not highlighted by the study, but widely reported is hesitancy amongst pregnant women or women wanting to get pregnant. Those are fairly self explanatory, and only really the people with a lower education level could be said to have a lack of trust in the science. The more precarious employment is self explanatory – lack of time and also fears that taking the vaccine will mean that you won’t be able to work. The hesitancy in pregnant women is interesting – I believe it is driven primarily by high importance western nations attach to pregnancy, and therefore the high anxiety that many women have about harm to their unborn child. Interestingly vaccine hesitancy is also high amongst mid wives. There is very distinct psychological difference between harm happening to you, and you directly causing harm, such as taking a vaccine which then causes a congenital deformity.

  8. Vaccine passports are not a mitigation for Covid, vaccines are a mitigation for Covid, It’s a mistake to muddle the two.
    With regard to mandatory vaccination in the NHS, a recent survey found that about 94% of ethnic white people employed by the NHS are vaccinated, whereas in some ethnic minority groups the figure is as low as 62%. Mandatory vaccines for NHS staff will, even if it is unintentional, result in whitewashing the NHS, and staff shortages may well cost lives. Most of these people avoiding vaccination have a lack of trust of those in authority, and in the UK at the moment, who could blame them. Trying to force them to be vaccinated may persuade some, but for most it increases distrust and resistance. The ones who are persuaded are ones who could, for the most part, have been persuaded by positive methods
    Public health measures, generally, are better if they’re done through positive cooperation rather than force and shifting blame onto minorities is always a dangerous game. We saw that forcing mitigations makes people t try and avoid the rules, whether it’s using Scotch eggs or school type mathematical puzzles of the form ‘if A drives 20 miles in one direction and B drives 15 miles in another direction’ then we can get round a restriction. A positive approach helps make people think in terms of how they can comply rather than how they can avoid compliance. Of course, the persuasive approach requires good and trusted leadership, something many countries have been lacking.
    Part of good leadership is to explain to people what each mitigation does and what its limitations are, so people have a clear view of what outcomes to expect and see them as reasonable and fair. Over claiming for particular mitigations may help with initial compliance, but ultimately creates a backlash when the results are not forthcoming and increases mistrust of the politicians and scientists who exaggerated effectiveness. The common tendency of politicians and some scientists to claim specific mitigations are a magic answer to Covid have fundamentally undermined trust and contributed to a situation where Governments no longer feel they have public support to reintroduce an effective set of mitigations when necessary and feel the need to remove any measures they do introduce quickly as possible.

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